Monday, May 30, 2011


    Every February, our family for many years participated in the local Arts and Crafts Country Fair.  For a while, I baked and entered pies which I made until the children got old enough to start baking, writing poetry and working on other crafts.  Then, I stepped back and helped them to succeed.
     One year, our oldest son Aaron decided to bake and enter a cake.  Of course, it was a complicated recipe which he had never tried before.  He worked on it diligently and popped it into the oven.  To our horror, the cake pans began to overflow as they baked in the oven.  I couldn't imagine what had happened. I asked him if he had followed the recipe and he agreed that he had.
     Well, we knew we couldn't take that cake!  So, I took the baked remnants out of the oven thinking that maybe the cake pans were too small.  I thought I would just take a taste though.  I could not see throwing out a cake our family might eat.  I took a big bite and was instantly gagged by the amount of baking soda I had just consumed!
     Once again, I asked him how much he had used.  Well, instead of 1 teaspoon, he had used about 1/2 a cup of baking soda.  No wonder it overflowed like a volcano.  The next time around, in re-making this batter, he made certain of the measurements of all the ingredients.
     We learned some valuable lessons in this whole experience and they are similar to what I learned in counseling some years ago.
     First, we have to face or confront the problems we have.  We cannot run from the realities of living in a fallen world.  People will hurt us and disappoint us time and again.  We can either acknowledge the problem or we can stick our head in the sand, but the latter solution does not lead to any change.  The Apostle Paul had to face a reality in his life which he referred to as a "thorn in the flesh".  2 Corinthians 12:7 reads:  "And because of the surpassing greatness  of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me - to keep me from exalting myself!"  Paul could have made excuses for his situation but instead, he recognized this "thorn" in his life.
     Another example of acknowledgement comes from King David when his sin with Bathsheba was uncovered (2 Samuel 12:13).  He admitted his guilt when the Prophet Nathan confronted him and this was the first step in healing.
     Secondly, we have to come to a place of acceptance.  Paul knew that he had a "thorn" in the flesh, but he came to accept what the Lord had spoken to him concerning this.  His response in 2 Corinthians 12:9b was:  "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
     In the case of King David, he came to accept what the Lord's punishment would be for his sin.  Losing the baby that he and Bathsheba had conceived was painful, but he knew that the Lord was just in His dealings (2 Samuel 12:19-23).
     Finally, the last thing we must do in dealing with difficulties is to adjust.  In the case of our poor cake, we threw out the old one and made a new batch being careful to watch our ingredient measurements!  For the Apostle Paul,  he chose to go on serving God with joy and gladness knowing that the Lord was Sovereign over all things.  2 Corinthians 12:10 reads:  "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
     How did King David adjust?  All you have to do is read Psalm 32 to see what he had learned through facing, accepting and adjusting to this situation in his life.
      For ourselves, we may have to make some lifestyle changes, deal with our outlook on life or enter into counseling.  Whatever is necessary in order to make a healthy adjustment, we must seek God's wisdom and do it.
     When faced with bad news, broken relationships, health problems or any other difficulty, we need to follow these three steps in order to keep a healthy perspective.  We can either dig a hole and feel sorry for ourselves or take the hand of our God and walk on.  Life is not over till its over!  Satan wants us to focus on the problem, but God wants us to "walk through the valley of the shadow of death" not stay there.
     Aaron's second cake took a second place ribbon that year at our Country Fair.  We learned a lot and still chuckle over the cake that overflowed in the oven.  If your life is overflowing  right now, talk to the Lord who can help you face, accept and adjust to whatever it is you are facing.  He can make you laugh again.  Selah!

How do you deal with the crises you face in life?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment here.

Friday, May 27, 2011


     What is true worship?  This question has been burning in my soul for over a week now.  I keep searching the scriptures to understand better how we may enter into His presence when we come together on a Sunday morning.  Most of us rush to and fro getting ready to gather in fellowship, but I wonder how many of us are really prepared in heart for this is where worship begins.
     When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, they discussed where to worship whether on a mountain or in Jerusalem.  However, Jesus made the issue clear:  "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" ( John 4:23-24).  Our Lord conveyed to her the importance of the heart that is changed by the Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit that leads us into all truth as we enter into worship.  So how do we prepare?
     Daily Bible reading, prayer and praise are so vital to our preparation for Sunday worship services.  Growing closer to God through the pages of scripture opens our eyes and unstops our ears so we are ready to join in communion with other believers.  If we do not have a solid relationship with the Lord, going to church will not mean much to us.  It is like being married to someone you never talk to all week, and then expecting to spend an hour of intimate fellowship with your spouse one day a week.  I guarantee it will not be as meaningful as if we had spent the entire week sharing, talking and spending quality time together.  Many Christians do not prepare themselves for worship.  Therefore, they miss the intimacy with God that is their inheritance in Christ.
     Secondly, as we worship the Lord in spirit and truth, we are to glorify Him and enjoy His presence.  We come together corporately to encourage, build up and edify one another.  The Apostle Paul painted a good picture of Christian fellowship when he wrote this in his letter to the Ephesians:  "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" (chapter 5:18-21).  When we gather in common worship, our goal is to lift high the name of the Lord with words, songs and behavior.  No discouraging words or gossip should be found there.  Likewise, it is my personal belief that dress should be modest.  In our current culture, it is not uncommon to see all types of inappropriate types of dress from pants that are pulled too low to tops that plunge.  Being brothers and sisters in Christ, our goal is not to draw attention to ourselves, but to focus all attention on the Lord.
     Another key element of worship is the preaching and teaching of God's Word.  This must be the central part of our worship service.  In the Westminster Confession of Faith 21.1, we read:  "The acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men,...or any other way not prescribed in Holy Scripture."  Certainly, the proclamation of God's Word is one of the major elements of true worship.  Also prescribed in Scripture is the administration of the sacraments, prayer, sung prayer and praises, and collections for the relief of the saints (Westminster Confession of Faith 21.5).  All of these elements nurture the soul and prepare Christians to go out in the world to proclaim the Good News.  There is nothing listed in the Confession of Faith that tells us to "hype" up the worship service to attract unbelievers.  What draws people to Christ is the proclaiming of the Gospel.  Gimmicks, fancy lighting, special bands or other dramatic activities may bring a crowd, but are they there for the entertainment or for the encounter with the Living God?  I recently watched a YouTube presentation at a fellow blogger's site (Cameron Buettel "The Bottom Line") and the video clip shows us some pretty unbelievable things that go on in  some churches to draw people in.  In one scene, a pastor has several motorcycles fly across the platform to demonstrate God's power.  I am not kidding!  Another service has people dressed as clowns blessing the elements for the Lord's Supper.  I guess the thought is to be relevant to people in today's culture, but this appears instead to profane the holy.  Remember, our emphasis in worship is on God...not man.
     With these thoughts in mind, we need to begin now to prepare for the worship we will offer on Sunday.  God has promised that as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.  What a blessing to be able to fellowship with our Creator and with one another.  We must remember that the heart of worship begins in our hearts.  Selah!

How do you prepare yourself for Sunday worship?  I welcome your comments and look forward to hearing from you.  It encourages my heart!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


     As I strolled around our homestead the other day, I was able to capture some wild creatures.  Not literally, but on my camera.  It was a "gotcha" moment for a squirrel, a rabbit and a cardinal as they went about their business of finding food.  Just as I had caught these creatures unaware with my camera, so God catches me when I step outside His will for my life.  It never ceases to amaze me either.  I may think I have avoided detection with something I did or I thought, but God doesn't miss a beat.  He knows it before I even over step my bounds.  Then, He graciously uncovers my sin in order to bring correction.  Let me illustrate.                                     When I was a little girl, we had neighbor children that came over to play.  We often mimicked what we saw on television.  One day we were playing cowboys and Indians and I took a toy gun and hit a little boy over the head with it.  I thought he would fall down and be okay like they did on television.  The problem was that the toy gun cut his scalp, and he began bleeding.  One of the older children yelled at me and put a tee shirt over the cut in his head.  Naturally, a scalp wound looks worse than it was so I was very scared.  I ran into our house and never said a word to my parents.  Then, the call came in the evening concerning the incident.  The parents of the little boy relayed what had happened, and my parents marched into my room and confronted me with this news.  Needless to say, I began to cry and sob.  I had been found out, and the worst part was that I had not even admitted to my parents what I had done.  I thought it would just go away, and no one would know.  Naturally, my parents disciplined me and made me apologize for what I had done.  From reading this, you might conclude that I had learned my lesson.  However, at various stages of my life I have had those "gotcha" moments, and every time, God has dealt with me.  I also know that I am not the only one who has been caught doing something I should not do.  In fact, sin is common to all men even Christians.
     Looking into scripture, we can see why God captures us in those "gotcha" moments and brings discipline into our life.  Hebrews 12:5-11 reads:  "And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him.  For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.'  It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  if you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.  Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?.  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
     Seeing things from God's perspective, then, makes us aware that He is trying to produce holiness in our lives.  If He did not love us, He would not care how we lived.  However, He proved through the blood of His only Son just how much He loved us.  Therefore, he continues to pursue the work of perfecting us through His righteous discipline.  Yes, it does hurt and seem painful when we are going through that time of having to face up to our sin.  Yet, the peaceful fruit of right living it produces in us is worth the discomfort.  I am glad that God calls us up short before we rush head long over a cliff of sin. 
     Two basic things I have learned over and over again as the Lord has dealt with me.  First, there is nothing we can do that ever remains hidden.  God uncovers all wrong doing and sin eventually.  Secondly, He will bring discipline to the sons/daughters whom He loves.  The only way to avoid both of these things is to live in obedience to Him.  However, when we stumble, we do have the assurance of His forgiveness when we confess our sins (I John 1:9).
      We don't have to live  a "deer in the headlights" kind of existence fearing we will be found out.  We can live the grace filled life by walking in the Spirit daily, staying in His Word and keeping short accounts through prayer.  This is our weaponry and protection.  Let us use it to His glory in our lives so we do not have to experience those painful and embarrassing "gotcha" moments in life.  Selah!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


     This past week, it happened again.  I felt disappointed in a situation I thought might resolve itself another way.  When it didn't, I could feel the wedge in my heart growing separating me from people as well as from the Lord.  Disappointment in itself is not a sinful emotion.  It is what we do with it when it comes that makes all the difference.  In my case, I knew I would have to begin working through my emotions and taking them one by one before the Lord.  It would be so easy to lash out or to build resentment, but that is not profitable for me as a child of God.  I am only hurting myself.  So then, how do we process our way out of the emotions of loss?
     Most of us have experienced disappointment at one time or another.  Not getting that job we wanted, not having enough money to pay our bills after we worked extra hours, or not being able to kick a habit successfully can all lead to a feeling of disappointment.  What we need to remember is that in God's Word, there are abundant examples of God's people who went through storms of disappointment.  Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth were all faithful women of God who desperately wanted children.  Day after day, and hour after hour, they cried out to God in their disappointment at being childless.  However, if you finish reading their stories, God did answer them at just the right time.
     Then, we need to think about Joseph and Job.  If ever two men had reason to be disappointed, it was these two.  Joseph's own brothers sold him into slavery.  As for Job, all that he had was taken from him as God allowed testing in his life.  Once again, however, if we finish the stories in the Bible, what a difference it makes.  God raised Joseph up to a position of influence and power for just the right time when his people needed assistance, and God restored to Job everything that he had lost.  Reading these accounts in the Bible shows us how God, in His divine timing, provided the solution to the disappointments.  Now, step back and think with me on something.
     Here we are, in the middle of disappointment over an event, a person, or a situation.  We do not know how all this will end.  Guess what?  Neither did Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, Job or Joseph know how their situation would end when they were in the middle of it either.  God has given us the gift of His Word so we can see how He worked in the middle of their disappointment.  He does this to show us that no matter how bleak things may look right now He has a plan which He will perform at the right time.  We may not be able to see it, but we can trust Him and know He is at work.
     If we allow disappointment to wedge itself into our lives, we are opening a door to Satan.  Disappointment can lead to discouragement, disillusionment, depression and then defeat if we do not stop it.  How do we do that?  We need to praise the Lord.  I Thessalonians 5:18 reads:  "Give thanks in all circumstances."  Praising God for His unseen work in our lives leads to stronger faith and relief from disappointment.  After all, the Lord is not done with us yet as long as we walk on this earth.  Tomorrow brings new mercies from God, and what seemed like a defeat today can be a resounding success given God's time and providence.
     People will disappoint us and so will circumstances in life.  Our expectations often get us into trouble because we think that we should live a trouble free life.  However, Jesus made it clear that in this world we will have trouble.  But He didn't leave us there.  He went on to say that we should rejoice because He has over come this world.  Our attitude needs to be like that of the prophet Habakkuk who when he learned that his country would be destroyed by Babylon chose to find his joy in the Lord.  He wrote:
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there is no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.  I will rejoice in God my Savior" (Hab. 3:17-18).
      Did I say this would be easy?  No.  Not for me or for anyone in the middle of disappointment.  Nevertheless, we have the Word of God to demonstrate the faithfulness of our Lord as He worked in the lives of others.  This should give us the encouragement we need to find our way out of the bondage of disappointment.  We must remember that God inhabits the praises of His people, and He will comfort those who come to Him.  Our temporary life setbacks are nothing in light of the great eternity which God has prepared for those of us who love Him.  He knows the desires of our hearts and He hears our prayers.  Therefore, let us abandon disappointment and put on the garment of praise.  This is what real faith in Him consists of.  Selah!

How do you handle disappointment?  What scriptures give you comfort?  I delight in hearing from you.  Please leave a comment.

Friday, May 20, 2011


     In a departure from my usual devotional writing, I instead wanted to take time to celebrate the man I have come to know and love more deeply over the last 39 husband Glenn.  It is his birthday today, and I believe in telling the people we love just how much they mean to us and to others.  So let me begin this journey where all journeys begin.
     Glenn Roberts Thayer Jr. was born to Ruth Elizabeth and Glenn Roberts Thayer Sr. in Ft Wayne, Indiana on May 20, 1949.  He was their second child with an older sister named Drue.  At the age of twelve, he and his family moved to Defiance, Ohio where his father was the general manager and chief engineer for WONW Radio Station.  He graduated from Defiance High School in 1967, and enrolled in Case Tech/Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio to study engineering.

     During the course of his studies, he made the momentous decision to become an optometric physician.  So, after two years at Case Tech, he attended a year at Bowling Green State University to prepare for this change.  He went on to the Professional College of Optometry at the Ohio State University in 1970.  Of course, during these years, I had the privilege of meeting Glenn at his father's radio station where I served at a job during the summer of 1969.  Our relationship blossomed and we became engaged in May of 1970.
     While at Ohio State during that first year of professional studies, we both made a public profession of our faith in Jesus Christ.  This was to change not only our relationship with God but our relationship with each other.  In August of 1971, we married with the Lord at the center of our lives.
      In 1974, the moment he had worked so hard at came to pass.  He graduated with honors from Professional School and a new journey was about to take place.
     Through all the years we have had together, I have seen in him a gentle spirit, a quiet thinker, an avid Ohio State Fan, a faithful husband, a wonderful dad and above all a devoted Christ follower.  His provision for me and for our four children was a sacrifice and labor of love.  For twenty-one years, he afforded me the privilege of being able to stay at home to raise our children and teach them in our home school.  I now work side by side with him in his practice as I have done throughout the years off and on. It is wonderful to be together as we minister to others.  For Glenn, his work is also his ministry.  He gives of his time, and efforts to help others to have better vision all in the name of Jesus Christ the Great Physician.  Here are a few of the many pictures I treasure the most.

Avid Ohio State Fan
Devoted son and brother

Great husband and father
Patient Instructor
Happy Grandfather!
Indy Car Driver (as a gift for Christmas)
Most of all a Great Family man    

Psalm 1:1-3 summarizes the man I see in Glenn:
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted  by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers."

     God has blessed me with this wonderful life partner, and I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into his life.  His love for the Lord and his family inspire me daily.   God's blessings on you Glenn.  I love you more than yesterday and less than tomorrow!  Happy birthday!

I hope many of you will stop by on my Facebook or Twitter account and wish him a Happy Birthday. I will make certain he reads all the thoughts everyone puts out there for him.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


     I have heard it said that it takes five positive comments to overcome one negative comment.   Most of us know what it feels like when others around us constantly make negative remarks.  It causes your energy level to drop along with disrupting concentration especially in the work place.  Growing up in a very negative or worry driven home can also be problematic for a person.  Whether we like to admit it or not, words have an impact on how we feel about ourselves as well as others.  We are either setting a positive tone or a negative one by the words we speak or in some cases, don't speak.
     According to the Bible, we are to encourage one another as we fellowship together.  Jesus said that people would know we are His disciples if we show love for one another.  What can be more loving than to speak words of encouragement to fellows believers?  In addition, when we offer encouraging words to those outside of Christ, we open doors to communicate the Gospel to them by showing them love.
     In Matthew 7:12, Jesus makes this statement after telling of God's goodness and His willingness to give to those who love Him:  "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."  We all know this as the Golden Rule, and in this passage, Jesus makes it a positive command.  How we treat other people is a reflection of our relationship with God.  A negative outlook, critical spirit, and discouraging words do not glorify the Lord or edify anyone!
     A number of scripture verses directly address the issue of encouraging one another.  In his letter to the to the believers at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul spoke of how he purposely sent Timothy to build them up in 1 Thessalonians 3:2:  "We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith."  Then in chapter 4:18, Paul writes:  "Therefore encourage each other with these words" when he had just finished his discussion of the return of Christ.   I Thessalonians 5:11 reads:  "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing."
     Another letter written to the Hebrews also admonishes believers to build each other up in chapter 3:13:  "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  Finally, in Hebrews 10:25 the author writes:  "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another --and all the more as you see the Day approaching."  Of course, there are many other passages we could look at, but the point is clear that we need to build each other up as we walk in this world.  So how can we begin to do this consistently?
     Practically speaking, it is not that difficult to make encouraging comments to others.  The issue is making time to do this.  For example, take a moment to tell your pastor how much you appreciated his sermon on Sunday.  He labors hard to study the Word of God and desires to build up believers.  Therefore, a good word of encouragement will give him even more motivation in his work.  Other ways to encourage believers include: writing notes to those who are ill, celebrating a birthday or anniversary.  In fact, there is a dear lady in our fellowship who never fails to send us an anniversary card EVERY year.  She said she just knows how much it meant to her to receive cards so she feels this can bless others as well.
     We can visit a shut-in or go to a nursing home and encourage people there.  These places can be so lonely when no one thinks to visit.  No matter what your age or health, a word of encouragement is deeply appreciated.  Sending or taking flowers to someone who is in the hospital can bring much needed cheer.  Helping to cook meals for someone who has just had surgery also can be a blessing to them.
     Finally, let me address another issue that is near and dear to my heart.  Encourage people who teach Sunday School, work in the church office, clean the church, serve as a leader or do any other ministry that in some way touches you personally.  We so often forget these folks!  Let me add a personal note here.  I have been writing devotions for nearly fifteen years now so that I can encourage others.  It is my desire to help people grow in their faith.  Now that I am blogging, I try to make an effort to read what others write and then make a comment on their blog to encourage them.  We need to take time to let others know that their efforts are important to us.  Certainly, we cannot cover every one all the time, but we need to take time to begin saying "thank bless me" to those around us.
     With the world in the shape it is in and the economy less than exciting, we need lots of positive comments to overcome all the negative things we hear every day.  And if you are one of those making all those negative comments that bring others down, please talk to the Lord.  Think about the impact you are having on those around you.  Are you glorifying God by constantly worrying or whining?  Instead, set out to make it your mission to speak a good word to the people around you at work, at home or at school.  It doesn't cost anything to do this fact, you may be the one that reaps the reward of bringing a smile to some one's face.  May each of us strive as much as it is possible for us to be an encourager in the body of Christ to the glory of God!  Selah!

In what ways, have you or do you plan to encourage others?  How have others encouraged you?  I welcome your thoughts and insights here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


     Have you ever told a "white lie"?  I know I have from time to time because I didn't want to hurt some one's feelings when they asked me about an outfit they were wearing.  However, besides being a dishonest thing to do, it is also sin.
     We all try to rationalize away the ugliness of sin by grading it.  Some sins like murder are "very bad" while other sins like "white lies" to protect some one's feelings are not quite as bad.  However, to our Lord, sin is sin and it is an abomination to Him.  Realizing this can keep us from taking this matter lightly.
     As we look at the life of David, we know both that he was a "man after God's own heart" but also a man who fell into the sin of adultery followed by murder.  How could this be?  It started small with a glance from his palace at a beautiful woman.  Like a little "white lie", the leaven of sin spread into his soul and led him into deeper evil.
     After David was confronted with his sin by Nathan the Prophet, he cried out to God for forgiveness, and we see this in Psalm 51.  As you read this Psalm, focus on verses 7-12.
     In verse 7, David seeks to be purged with hyssop.  A branch of hyssop was used in the ceremonial cleansing of lepers in Leviticus 14:6,7.  The hyssop was dipped into the blood of a sacrificed bird and sprinkled upon the leper thus making him clean.  Not only does this foreshadow the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ for sin but also shows that David is aware that his sin makes him like an unclean leper.  In Bible times, leprosy was a serious disease often leading to death.  The second half of the verse asks God to wash David so that he will be whiter than snow.  Numbers 19:19 describes the ritual of washing after coming into contact with a dead person.  David was familiar with this and likens his sin to being in touch with death.  Only God is capable of cleansing him.
      Verse 10 of Psalm 51 uses the verb "create".  This is the same verb used in Genesis 1:1 where God is creating the heavens and the earth.  Here David is acknowledging that only God is able to give him a clean heart and renew him in spirit.
      Recognizing that sin utterly separates us from God is evident in verse 11 as David begs God not to cast him far away.  How little we often realize that sin keeps us from the relationship we so desperately need not only with God but our fellow man.
     Finally in verse 12, David asks the Lord to restore the "joy of Your salvation".  He came to realize that he had left his first love when he fell into sin.  He took his eyes off the Lord and fixed them on a woman.  David went from being a "man after God's own heart" to declaring spiritual bankruptcy in a short period of time.  This recognition led him to a great repentance.
     There is a sign above my computer which reads:  "Joy isn't the absence of sorrow, it's the presence of God."  In King David's case, he certainly experienced much sorrow over his sin, the loss of Bathsheba's baby and his broken relationship with God.  However, he knew that this was necessary in order to find the joy of a righteous relationship with his creator.  He also acknowledged that he wasn't able to restore this in his own power.  Only God could do that for him.
      When we consider that sin is much like the disease of leprosy which disfigures little by little and can lead to death, we will come to understand our need to walk closely with our Savior Jesus Christ.  Little "white lies" seem so innocent when we tell them, but just like David's glance at a beautiful woman, the consequences can be devastating first to our relationship with God and secondly in our relationship with others.  May we strive to walk in the Spirit by His Word so that we might not sin against Him.  Selah!

Father help us not to trivialize sin in our hearts and lives.  Shine the light of Your Holy Spirit into our hearts today so that all sin may be found and confessed.  Fill us with Your Spirit that we might bear the fruits of righteousness in our lives to Your glory.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Have you ever tried to rationalize away sin?  How can we keep ourselves from falling into sins...small or large?  I welcome your comments and insights.

Monday, May 16, 2011


     Yesterday was a celebration.  Loud laughter resounding off every wall in our home.  We were filled to the max with family - both ours and our son-in-law's family.  We had gathered to rejoice in the second birthday of our two year old grandson Gavin.  First came the tearing open of all the gifts (never mind the cards that came with them when you are two).  Then, came a swim in the pool under sunny Florida skies followed by a cook-out lunch.  We finished off this part of the day with cupcakes for all.  No one went away hungry!  A thunderstorm came right after the swim so the timing for this party was perfect.
     After our guests for the first celebration left, we began another with our immediate family.  It was my birthday and our daughter-in-love baked a cake for me and began cooking a scrumptious lasagna dish she had labored over all afternoon.  Then, it happened.  A powerful thunderstorm sent hail and rain blowing hard enough to knock out our power.  Predictions were that we would not have full power until later in the evening.  Should we wait or order pizza?  We ordered pizza thinking we would never have time to bake the lasagna.  Just as our son left to run to the store and pick up our order, the lights returned.  We canceled the pizza, baked the lasagna and had the best celebration.  Why do I say it was the best?  Because we had a full house with people we loved and fellowship that brought full joy.  What made the time together even more special was the fact that Jesus Christ our Lord was present in all the celebration.  He is, after all, the unseen guest at every gathering in our home.
       When we make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life, it means far more than Sunday morning, Wednesday night worship service.  It means living in Him daily and dwelling in fellowship with the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide.  We take Him to work,  We take Him on our vacations and into every gathering we have with friends and family.  Our lives are no longer our own.  In fact the Apostle Paul wrote these words in Galatians 2:20:  "I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."  So what happens if we close the door and leave the Lord behind?
     Becoming a Christian does not mean that we will never stumble or sin again.  However, we do have a choice once we are freed from the power of sin and death in our lives.  Before Christ, we had no choices we could make.  Our choices were always to do what our heart desired, and that desire was to live for ourselves.  Once we were set free by the blood of Jesus Christ in saving faith, we then were able to choose whether to live for God or go back to our old ways.  So, if we leave the house to head out for the office, we can decide to run the day under our own power or put it in the hands of our Savior.  Considering that Jesus Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, healed withered hands, cleansed lepers and made the sick well, I know whom I want to accompany me in all my activities.  If I depend upon my own human abilities, my days become frustrating if not impossible to manage.  I cannot keep the Law of God...I cannot love my brother or sister.....I cannot avoid evil speaking!  I need the power of the Holy Spirit abiding in me every moment as much as I need the next heartbeat to keep me alive!
     I love the words of Job when he said:  "In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10).  Our very next breath is in the hands of God and when we come to realize this
and live like this it makes a big difference in every area of our lives.  This is what made our day of celebration so rich, satisfying and fulfilling.  We gathered together in the love of Jesus Christ.  I know what it is like to go to secular gatherings as compared to Christian ones.  There is a world of difference in the quality of relationships.  If we have a relationship with the Lord, all other relationships are much sweeter.  This is the way the Lord designed it.
     Our house is once again quiet and everyone has returned to their homes.  A work week is about to start once again, but the precious afterglow of Christian family and friends will linger on into eternity because Jesus presided over the celebration.  He was the honored guest in our hearts  and at our table.  He is the one who makes our days rich with meaning and full of purpose.  We must all make certain that He is the first one we greet each morning and the last one we say goodnight to.  Then, throughout the day, we need to talk with Him as we walk through our activities so that we will experience a full heart and full joy by abiding in His presence.  Each day can be a celebration when we walk with Him.  Selah!

How do you celebrate Jesus with your loved ones?  I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Stand Amazed!

     Many people have asked me how it was that I came to start writing devotions.  Being a wordsmith was not something I aspired to be so much as something I have done all my life.  Even as a young child, I loved to turn words around in my mind with my imagination running wild creating plays, essays  and poems.  In fact, I even wrote a play about the Christmas story which my sixth grade teacher produced and put on for all the parents.  Imagine doing that in today's schools!
     My mother encouraged me to sit down and write about my thoughts and feelings.  It was a way of venting when things were difficult.  If I had an argument with a family member, I wrote them a letter which helped me focus my thoughts.  By the time I was finished, I could throw that paper away because I had been able to expend my energy in a creative way rather than rushing in to a conversation with words that could deal a blow I would later regret.  So, in many avenues, writing has been an outlet, therapeutic, and creative all at the same time.
     I remember during my post-graduate studies that one of my professors said I was a terrible writer when it came to academic papers.  I didn't sound scholarly enough to suit him.  Nevertheless, I continued to write and pour myself into what I scribbled.  I wrote newsletters for a professional organization, and authored news releases.  I created a newsletter for homeschooling parents in our county writing the articles to encourage them and give them the latest information.  However, it wasn't until we got our first home computer that my penchant for sharing thoughts blossomed.
     A group of polio survivors (including myself) who were now dealing with Post Polio Syndrome decided to start a Christian email group to encourage one another.    It was not a large group, but we loved one another in the Lord.  Some in our group could not get out to worship the Lord on a regular basis, so I felt the Lord nudging me to use my gift of encouragement and write devotions to lift them up.  This is how it began some fifteen years ago.  I included my pastors in the email list so I could maintain accountability and eventually, church members asked to join my email list.  From there, it spread to many around the country who had received my devotions passed on to them by list members.  I did not set out to do more than use the gift which God had given me which was to encourage others.   A small offering to the Lord in my own eyes.  But God takes what little we have and multiplies it by His grace and power so that He receives all the glory.
     I am reminded of the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand found in Matthew 14:16-21:  "But Jesus said, 'They need not go away; you give them something to eat.'  They said to Him, 'We have only five loaves here and two fish.'  And He said, 'Bring them here to me.'  Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven and said a blessing.  Then He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  And they all ate and were satisfied.  And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children."  This miracle appears in all four Gospels.  Jesus took what little the disciples had, He blessed it and then, multiplied it to meet the needs of the many who were gathered there.  That is what our gracious God does when we offer up whatsoever we have to Him for His glory!  He takes it, blesses it and applies it to those who have need.  To think that each one of us possesses a gift which God can use to bless others is amazing!

     Recently, a life long friend encouraged me to start blogging my devotions so that a wider audience might read what I write.  I wasn't certain about it but after prayer and sweet words of encouragement and instruction from her, I began in earnest to put my words out into the blogosphere that God may multiply and apply them to hearts as He desired.  I am but a servant in God's household.  I don't have all the answers, but I am a fellow pilgrim...a drop in the ocean of bloggers out there on the internet.  All I have to give are the words that God puts in my heart to share with others that they might be edified, encouraged and built up in their faith.  This is my mission and goal in which I find delight.  As you will notice on the left hand column of my blog home page,  I have a button that proclaims "I am an upside down blogger".  I hope you will click that button because it leads to a prayer that I have made my own.  I want the Lord to increase while I decrease just as John the Baptist spoke in scripture.  It is not for fame that I write, but for Him.
     God has a call for each of us to bring what we have.  Our time, our talents, our gifts may seem tiny in the sea of His greatness, but He will take what we offer like the loaves and fish and multiply it.  He will apply the healing, bring the salvation, encourage the brokenhearted, but He allows us to play a part in His grand plan.  How humbling!  How blessed!
     What do you have to bring to the Lord and lay at His feet?  You may think it is a small thing.  It could be something you never dreamed of doing.  I did not see myself as a writer.  My focus was to serve.  Take what you have and give it to Him.  He is the God who multiplies the small things to bless the many when we are obedient to Him.   At this, I stand amazed!   Selah!

Has God been speaking to your heart about using your gifts for Him?  If so, what do you plan to do about it?  I welcome your thoughts and insights.  Please let me hear from you that I might be encouraged too.

Photo of the keyboard  courtesy of

Monday, May 9, 2011


     Wearing a mask can be fun unless you happen to scare a little two year old.  Such was the case when our son Nathan came home for a visit.  He donned a mask he had from several years ago and came into the main part of our living room to have some fun with his nephews.  The problem occurred when our grandson Aiden took a look at that face and started to tear up.  Uncle Nathan quickly removed the mask to take away any doubt of his identity.  In fact he offered to let Aiden try it on.  He accepted that idea with glee and put on the mask to go show his mommy.  That was an easy fix, but what if you put on a mask that could not be removed so easily? 
     Alexandre Dumas wrote a famous fictional account entitled "The Man in the Iron Mask" which tells the story of a man locked away in a prison who was forced to wear an iron mask day and night to conceal his identity.  It is an action packed and romantic novel capturing the French court of Louis IV in all its glory.  Supposedly, the man in the mask was his twin brother, and to preserve the throne, the twin was hidden away so there could be no controversy over the heir.  While this tale is fictional, there are people out there that do wear masks every day to conceal who they really are inside.  
     One of the most prevalent masks that people wear is the mask of pride and self accomplishment.  These folks seem to have it all together.  They would not dream of letting anyone know how they feel or if they have any needs.  Instead, they stoically push forward on the projects they undertake while patting themselves on the back for doing an amazing job.  People like this seem to need no one.  They are in charge refusing assistance unless it was their idea.  This type of mask is hard to break through, but when God begins to work in their heart, we get a peek at a person who is really very insecure inside.  The mask was there to protect him/her.  Somehow that individual felt like a failure, so they drove themselves to be the best refusing help along the way.  Often, when this person comes to Christ, they can be a highly motivated leader of others.  When I think of this mask, the Apostle Paul comes to mind.  He was an instigator who persecuted the church not caring who was hurt in the process.  Then, on the road to Damascus, he met the Lord.  The change was dramatic, and all masks fell away.  In the ensuing years, Paul used his great talents to lead many to the Savior and help to organize churches on his many missionary trips.
     A second mask we often see is called "Excuses".  People who wear this mask have an excuse for almost anything and everything.  They cannot help at a church function because it would take them away from home.  Yet, they can be found leaving their family behind to do many other outside activities that seem to better fit their efforts.  Other excuses range from, "I'm too tired", or "I'm too old or too young".  Then, there is the ever favorite, "I just don't feel led to do that".  Let me state that I am not saying we should say "yes" to everything.  That is madness!  We do have times when we are too busy with our family or we have illness we are dealing with that should rightly allow us to say "no".  However, there are many individuals that use this mask all the time putting off any valuable service to their family, neighbors or church family.  The root cause of this mask is selfishness.  It is the "me first" attitude that must be cut off if we are to have freedom from this bondage.  When we truly repent of our selfish attitude, we can really begin to love the Lord with all our heart and soul and mind and others as ourselves (Luke 10:27).  Moses is a perfect example of someone who had a lot of excuses as to why he could not lead the children of Israel out of bondage.  Nevertheless, the Lord answered every objection and made every provision necessary to him to succeed.  Only when we let go of our excuses will we be able to be used of the Lord.
     Our final mask is known and seen all too often. It is the mask of religiosity.  People who wear this mask appear to be very pious folks.  They are serious about going to church, keeping the commandments, and helping others.  On the outside, they look like moral giants, but on the inside, they are often hollow.  Christ addressed this constantly during His three year ministry as He encountered the Pharisees.  These men were very upright, prayerful and knew the Law, but Jesus pronounced woes to these men of importance.  He could see through them as He said:  "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness.  So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matthew 23:27-28).  The Lord did not mince words.  I shudder every time I read this and pray that I may not fall into this trap.  Wearing a religious mask may look good to others, but the truth is all our good works are as filthy rags before the Lord.  He desires our repentance and obedience rather than any sacrifices we could ever offer.  
     Three masks - three types of people all in need of God's touch.  We do not have to wear a mask any longer when we come into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  By His blood, we are made righteous in Him.  He has set us free from the mask of pride, excuses and religiosity.  We don't have to return again to these because we are now free to live as His children of light revealing His glory.
     While our son was here visiting we did have fun with his silly mask.  Laughter does us good, but we need to seriously take a look at our own lives.  If, when we look into the mirror of the Word, we see a false face where our countenance should be reflecting Christ, we need do business with God through prayer, and repentance.  Remember, He has put us here to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever not to blend in with the world by wearing a mask.  Selah!

What are some of the masks you see people wear?   I welcome your thoughts and insights.


     On one of our family vacations, we decided to visit a much talked about mansion in the western part of North Carolina.  Arriving in Asheville, we really had no idea what the Biltmore Estate would be like until we got our first glimpse of it.  I will never forget the view.  It was breathtaking.  I could hardly fathom how this French chateau could have been built in the late 19th century over a six year period.  The cost was astronomical (historians believe it was close to 10 million) and the setting was one of grandeur.
     George Vanderbilt commissioned the architect Richard Morris Hunt to create a house modeled after three other chateaus built in 16th century France.  The house, itself, covers 4 acres of floor space.  There are 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces.  Can you imagine keeping that clean?  In the basement of this palatial home, there was a swimming pool, gymnasium with changing rooms, a bowling alley, servant's quarters, kitchens and more.  The grounds of the original estate included 125,000 acres.  No small place!  A horticulturalist, Frederick Law Olmstead, designed the grounds and created beautiful gardens around the home itself.  In addition, the home boasted telephones and electric lighting which at the time was considered very modern.
     As we toured through the rooms, I found it hard to even imagine the wealth, the grand parties and other events that took place there.  No money was spared in terms of furnishing this home, and it was taken care of by 40 live-in servants with many more working on the grounds.  Yet, despite the opulence and grandeur, one fact remained.  Even this great chateau cannot compare to the grandeur of our God and our Creator.  The works of His hands far surpass any creation of man.  To get a better perspective, read Psalm 19 in its entirety.  We will look at a few specific verses from this Psalm of David.
     In the first six verses of this Psalm, David describes the matchless grandeur of God's creation.  Verse 1 reads:  "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork."  Everywhere we turn, we cannot miss the unique beauty of all that God has made.  David describes the sun as having a tent or place to retreat at night.  The poetic imagery captures God's infinite power to make a star so great that "nothing is hidden from its heat" (verse 6b).  The Apostle Paul picks up on the majesty of God's creation when he writes this in his letter to the Romans (chapter 1:19-20):  "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse."  Neither David nor Paul could conceive how anyone could miss the grandeur of God.  It is all around us!  We can see it day to day.  Therefore, we are without excuse if we miss the great "I Am".  From the vastness of our orderly universe down to the tiniest living cell, the handprint of God, our breath of life, is seen in every color, scent, and construction.
     Even more than creation, we find the greatness of God revealed through His Word which makes plain to us how we can live in this world He made for us.  Verses 7-11 show us the path.  God's law is perfect and revives our soul in verse 7.  His precepts are right which brings rejoicing to our heart (vs. 8). He opens our eyes by His pure commandments (vs.9), and we are made clean by the fear of the Lord.  God's rules are true, righteous and sweeter than honey.  They are more valuable than gold (vs. 10).  We are warned by His commandments, and when we keep them, we find great reward (vs. 11).  These are the furnishings which God has so powerfully provided for us so that our lives can be filled with joy in His presence.  Just as the elegant trappings of the Biltmore House were designed to provide for every need of the guests who came there, so God has provided all that we have need of in the Bible.   As we look into His perfect Word, we find out who He is and the grandeur of His provision for us.
     Of course, the final revelation of God's grandeur came in our Lord Jesus Christ, His only Son.  He came to pay the price for our sins, and to break the chains which held us captive.  In Him, we have life everlasting, and through Him, we come to an even greater understanding of who God is for He revealed the Father to us.  As He said when His disciple Philip asked to see the Father, "Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?  The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does His works'" (John 14:9-10).  All the miracles from healing the sick to raising the dead were proof of who Jesus Christ was...God incarnate.  This was God's greatest act of grandeur in sending His Son to bring about our salvation.
     To be certain, having the opportunity to visit Biltmore House and estate was quite an experience.  I have been back since that first visit and am still overcome by the vastness of the architecture and grounds.  However, even the grandest of homes cannot compare to God's grandeur in His creation, His Word and His Son.  The estate has now shrunk from 125,000 acres to 8,000 acres, and in 1930, Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil (the daughter of George and Edith Vanderbilt) opened the home to the public in order to pay for the upkeep.  In addition, George Vanderbilt who spent most of his fortune to build this home died at the age of 51 never being able to enjoy a long life on this beautiful estate.  However, as Christians, we know that God's mercy and grandeur is new every morning.  He will never pass away and neither will His Word, and one day, He will come again to give us a new heaven and a new earth.  What a future we have before us living and walking in His presence!  May our prayer be the same as the one that David closed Psalm 19 with:  "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer" (vs. 14).  Now pause and think about that.

How would you describe God's grandeur?  How does He reveal Himself to you?  I welcome your thoughts today.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


     Today marks the celebration known as Mother's Day.  It is a time to remember all the faithful women

Our daughter Jordan and grandson Gavin
Our daughter-in-law Bonnie and grandson Aiden
in our lives who gave of themselves tirelessly: our own mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, aunts cousins, sisters and friends who mothered us as well.  In honor of this special occasion, I wanted to share a poem that my grandfather had framed on his wall.  This represents the reality that we all need to live with...there will be troubles and woes in this life, but God has promised to walk with us through them.  Women of God know that and trust in Him to see them through  the hard places in life.  May this encourage and bless you today and through the year to come.  Happy Mother's Day!

What God Has           Promised
God has not promised
Skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives thro’;
God has not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.

God has not promised
We shall not know
Toil and temptation,
Trouble and woe;
He has not told us
We shall not bear
Many a burden,
Many a care.
Daughter in law Jessica with grandson Briggs
But God has promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
                                                      Help from above,
                                                    Unfailing sympathy,

                                                 Undying love.

                                                                             Annie Johnson Flint

Friday, May 6, 2011


     This coming Sunday, we will once again celebrate Mother's Day.  It is a special time to reflect on and appreciate all the sacrifices that our mothers made for us through the years.  While many families will gather for a lunch or special visit, some of us will just have to make do with our sweet memories.  Fortunately, I have many to choose from.
     Losing my mother was not as hard as hearing the diagnosis of Alzheimer's which slowly ate away at her memory over a ten year period.  Watching a capable person become become totally dependent is never an easy thing.  She had spent her whole life working hard first on our farm and then, using her talents to establish the first medical records library for our local hospital.  She even returned to school to become a certified medical records technician.  It was quite an accomplishment.
     After the death of my father, though, we began to see some changes in her that troubled my sister and I. She would begin to misplace things, and became very forgetful.  One night when she came to visit me and my family, she arose around 3 a.m. and started to get dressed "to go to work" she said.  It took some convincing to get her to return to bed, and after this incident, we decided to have her undergo some testing. The results were as we had feared and so began the long journey into night.
     During those years, I spent many days weeping for the loss of her companionship, and yet, I remembered the many times she had given me precious gifts of her love and attention just when I needed it most.  As a child, when I was afraid at night, she would slip into my room and gently stroke my face with her hand until I went to sleep.  Somehow, it always made me feel safe and loved.
     Of course, I can never forget the gift of her tireless efforts as she took care of me during my bout with polio.   Neither she nor my father ever left my side during the days I spent in the hospital and the months of recuperation at home.   Even after I had recovered, she watched over my health like a mother hen with her chick.
     More than any other gift, though, is one that has stayed locked in my heart through the years.  My mother was a letter writer and card sender.  She never failed to keep in touch with loved ones and especially with me when I was away at college.  She would tell me about all the things going on at home and ask how things were progressing with my classes.  Then every letter would end with these words:
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26).
     As a college student, I didn't think too much about these words.  In fact, at the time, I was not a committed believer, so I never did more than read the letter or card.  But God promises that His Word will never return void, and little did I know that within a few short years, the blessing my mother ended every letter with would become the seed that blossomed into my full blown faith in Jesus Christ.
     Through the years, my mother gave me many more gifts like the love for the Psalms, teaching me how to pray, listening when I had a need to talk and even, teaching me to drive.  I know that was scary for her!  Above all, still stands that verse of scripture at the end of her letters.  She was bestowing a blessing on me, and I will treasure it always in my heart.
     In raising my own family, I have tried to carry on in the faith of my mother, and as Mother's Day comes around again the words of Proverbs 31: 29-31 come to mind when I think about her:  "Many women have done excellently but you surpass them all.  Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates."  Although she is now a sweet memory, the fragrance of her life lingers on in mine, and I am grateful.  Selah!

What gifts has your mother given to you?  How will you celebrate her love on Mother's Day?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CALLED TO......????

     When I was in college, most of my fellow classmates had a general idea of what they wanted to do with their life, but as time went on, some of them changed their major.  I, however, did not.  I knew that I wanted to train to be a teacher of communications and English.  My inspiration came from a high school teacher whom I admired.  He recognized my strengths and encouraged me to pursue them.
     However, not everyone cheered me on.  I remember a public speaking contest I entered (during my high school days) where one of the judges questioned whether a girl should be an extemporaneous speaker.  He was very negative, and his remarks stung me to the core.  Undaunted, I continued to enter contests and won some awards for my efforts.  Then, my high school principal told my parents that he did not think I could make it in college.  He felt my math abilities were in question.  Personally, I had to agree with that assessment to an extent, but I was determined to go on and prove that I could handle college level work.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude pursuing the dream I had in high school.  With a teaching certificate in hand, I thought I was destined to be a public school teacher, but God had other plans.
     While in post graduate studies at Ohio State University, my fiancee and I became Christians, and that changed the course of our lives.  We were married three months later, and I found myself working in public relations for several years while my husband studied his profession.  Later, I did some radio broadcasting and worked in banking.  I had done everything but teach.
     When our family came along, I stopped all work activities in favor of being a stay at home mother.  It was a blessing to have children and pour my life into theirs.  In fact, God called my husband and I to teach our children at home.  It was an unusual thing to do in those days and the very real prospect of having authorities challenge your right to do this was present.  Despite this, we gave our time and effort for 21 years to this endeavor.  It became clear to me that my training as a teacher was being put to use by God in ways I had not imagined.  As Proverbs 16:9 says:  "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
     I have shared this to point out the fact that we may have certain goals in our life that may change as the Lord directs us.  At the time, we may wonder why on earth we ever went to college or why we are stuck in a certain position.  This isn't what WE had in mind.  Nevertheless, as Christians we do not belong to ourselves any longer but we belong to the Lord.  Colossians 3:17 encourages us with these words:  "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  This means whether we are worshipping the Lord, working at our day job or changing dirty diapers, we are to do it all for the glory of God knowing that it is He who has called us.  We are where He wants us at this point in time.
     Part of our problem is that we want to be at the destination now instead of enjoying the journey that God has set before us.  We all know how it grates on the nerves of parents when their children ask over and over again, "Are we there yet?"  Imagine how that sounds in the ears of God.  Instead of embracing each moment of life that He gives us here and now, we are off worrying about tomorrow.  Oh, what we miss when we fall into this trap.
     Romans 8:28 sums up how God works in our lives:  "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose."  He takes all the pieces, segments, training, gifts, talents, circumstances (good and bad) and makes them work together for His glory and our good.  He knows our beginning from our end and He is the finisher as well as the author of our faith.  He is writing the book of our life each day, and not a thing happens to us that He does not know about.  God sees the big picture.  We see only a small fraction.
     Through all the many hats I have worn over the years, I have come to understand that God has given to me a gift of encouragement.  It has been the thread that has been woven through every strand of my life.  I know I am called to use that to be a blessing to others.  It gives me joy and satisfaction like nothing else does when I can be used to help someone else.  But God has given you a precious gift too!  In fact, all who believe are given gifts by God to use for His glory and for the mutual blessing and edification of the saints.  This is the call that rises above our occupation or circumstances.  No matter  where we find ourselves in life right now God can use us if we will do all for His glory using the gifts He has given us.  If you do not know what your gift and calling is, just ask God.  He will show you.  It will be your passion and the motive that drives you.  Once you recognize that gift, that passion, God will guide you in using it wherever you are at this time in your life.

What is your calling and passion?  How is God directing your steps in life?  I welcome your thoughts and ideas.  Blessings!

P.S.  Please visit "The High Calling" blog network.  I have a button to the right here on my blog.  It is a place where there are many writers who share wonderful articles on faith, family, and work.  I participate there as well as a number of my blog friends.

Monday, May 2, 2011


     Another birthday is fast approaching for me, and as I was trying to think of the benefits of getting another year older, I started enumerating some of the perks in this season of life.  1) I now get discounts at many restaurants and occasionally land a free cup of coffee for being a "senior" 2) There are special days specifically for my age group to shop for clothing at reduced prices 3) Date night at the movies is now cheaper for my husband and I 4) My checking account is FREE with no service charges and the best one 5) When my children come to visit, they "love" to go shopping with me because I have a handicap hanger for my car and they don't have to walk so far.
     Of course, there is a downside to living in an aging body.  The aches and pains that never used to be there are ever present.  My once solid knees, that carried me as a high school majorette down the street in parades, are both shot and one is in need of replacement before too long.  Then, there is my vision which reached a point where my arms were not long enough to read the fine print thus requiring correction.  Thank goodness my husband is an eye doctor!
     Personally speaking, I do not feel my age in my heart.  My spirit has not grown old so much as it has grown wise through the life experiences I have walked through.  Raising and teaching four children through home schooling, walking through the valley of the shadow of death with both my husband's parents and my own, welcoming the marriages of our children and finding joy in having grandchildren, have been a few of the many moments that have shaped my walk with Christ.
     While aging is an inevitability in everyone's life (considering the alternative it is a good one), it does not disqualify us from serving the Lord.  On the contrary, of any in the church, older people are needed for guidance, wisdom and their experiences in life.  Unfortunately, starting in the 1960's, our culture has become more youth oriented, and older folks are often considered to be out of touch.  This has carried over to some extent in our churches.  Therefore, it is a good time to look at what God's Word has to say to older people and to the church.
     A good place to begin is in Leviticus 19:32 where God is giving instructions to His people:  "You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God:  I am the Lord."  The Lord expects us to respect those who are older and give them honor.  I don't see that happening in our society any longer, but it should never occur in the church.  Actually this can be remedied by making certain this is taught in our homes.  Teaching respect for older people, women, and good manners in general is an important aspect of a child's education.
     When it comes to our service before the Lord, Psalm 92:12-15 reads:  The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.  They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him."  If we are planted solidly in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that we will flourish and bear fruit even in our old age.  It even speaks to having sap and being green which means to me that though our body is aging, our spirit can be lively and quick to serve God.  As far as I can discern, none of us has an expiration date stamped on us that keeps us from serving the Lord 'til He calls us home.  Maybe we cannot get out and do physical labor like we once did but we can pray, teach God's Word, sing to the Lord, and offer our shoulder to someone who needs a listening ear.  Speaking for myself, I want each moment to count for Him until I draw my last breath.  This is the reason that I write devotions.  While my old knees cannot march me down the street like they used to, my keyboard can carry me around the world so that I may share the "Good News" with others.  Each of us has a place in the Body of Christ whether young or old!
     How does the church, then, respond to the older members?  What do they have to offer?  In the book of Job, there are two different places where the value of senior believers is mentioned.  Job 12:12 states:
Wisdom is with aged men.  With long life is understanding."  Job 32:7 says:  "Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom."  The benefit of having life experience can never be overrated when it comes to the Body of believers.  We live in difficult days economically, politically and spiritually.  Having the insight that comes from wise men and women who have lived a good deal of their lives with Christ keeps the church more stable and grounded when decisions need to be made.  Furthermore, older members have a rich testimony they can share.  Psalm 71:17-18 reads:  "Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come."  We, who are older, have a rich heritage of faith we can pass along to the younger people in the church.  Because we have walked through many challenges, we can offer comfort and hope.  We have seen the Lord at work, and we must tell others our story.
     Finally, the benefits we have in Christ as we grow older are far greater than any discount in a restaurant or clothing store to be certain.  God says this about the aged:  "Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life" (Proverbs 16:31).  Then, in Isaiah 46:4, the Lord speaks comfort to His older children:  "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."  All I can say is,  "Thank you Lord!"  Knowing that He is with us and will sustain us during those "creaky" moments older folks have is such a blessing to my heart!
      Age does have its benefits and it is my prayer that the Body of Christ will use the resource of the older members to pass on the heritage of faith to the next generation.  Likewise, I pray that older members will feel their call even more strongly to share the faith which they have lived as well as their life experiences.  We gain by hearing the stories that come from those who have lived them.
     In our current society, we often see age specific activities in the church that keep the young people from really mingling with the older members.  I hope this will change.  My own congregation takes time to recognize those who have been married 60 years or who are having their 90th birthday.  It shows great respect and also presents a great witness to the young people that are present.  We need more of this...not less.  At all stages and seasons of life, we have something to offer, but older Christians definitely have the experience and wisdom of walking with Jesus through some difficult passages.  My prayer is that the church will call upon them and that we will respond to that call by using the gifts which God has given to us.  Selah!

How are older people treated in your church?  How can we integrate their experiences in the Body of Christ?   If you are an older person, how is God using you in your fellowship?